Monday, January 17, 2011

MLK Today?

In the wake of the terrible shooting in Tucson nine days ago and on this day in which we celebrate the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. there is much talk about his philosophy of peace and nonviolence. A friend just posted his "I have a dream.." speech on Facebook and rued the fact that he isn't here today. It got me to thinking. What if he were still alive today?

In my humble opinion he would continue to be much maligned as he was in the 1960s, both for the color of his skin and because of his views on non-violence. Were he alive today, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Sarah Palin and others would call him a racist and rant and rave against him on a regular basis. He would be called a wimp because of his views on non-violence. They would say that violence is necessary to achieve their goals. It is necessary to continue the wars that they love so much. He would be tagged a socialist, a communist, and all of the other misused "ists" that they can come up with. He would be characterized as a "trouble maker," stirring up African Americans, Latinos, and other minorities against whites. In short he would still be a target.

This country has in many ways returned to the racist, violent days of the 1950's and 1960's. In those days the right wing press railed against integration and African Americans on a daily basis. Today it has broadened its horizons to include gays, Latinos, Muslims, and other non-Christians. Today its rants reach many more people because of the Internet and cable news. Were Martin Luther King to return to this earth on his birthday, he would find great changes have taken place, but in many ways things are still the same.